Lesson Purpose

The primary documents in this activity depict the apotheosis of Washington through visual and text-based primary sources. Students have an opportunity to analyze and compare different types of primary sources to better understand the ways in which Washington was characterized after his death. Reflective practice on a historical figure’s legacy provides context and periodization for historical practice.  


Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will examine 19th century art to identify and analyze the symbols used for Washington’s apotheosis.
  • Students will analyze primary sources to understand the legacy of George Washington immediately after his death and 50 years afterwards.
  • Students recognize characteristics of apotheosis and identify where and when they see it today.
  • Students will distinguish and see connections between History and Memory.

Related Standards:

  • Reading and Writing Literacy in History/Social Studies
  • Reading Informational Texts
  • Using multiple historical sources to identify further areas of inquiry
  • Speaking and Listening

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